This article was written by BenitoLink reporter intern Corissa King.
The San Benito County Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo is normally a weekend long rodeo, but this year it’s a one-day rodeo, taking place on June 26 at Bolado Park.
It begins at 8:30 a.m. and will include the following events, senior barrel race, junior barrel race, figure 8 roping, team roping, junior team roping, top 15 team roping, ladies breakaway roping, junior breakaway roping, junior cowhorse, and junior keyhole race.
Rodeo goes way back in the Mitch Bourdet Family, Mitch’s Father, Craig entered the Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo when he was just a young boy. The Bourdet Family has been a part of Bolado Rodeos since at least the 1960s. Mitch and Kristy Bourdet, along with their children Lacey and Jake, have been a part of the San Benito County Saddle Horse Show and rodeo for 37 years. Lacey, 25, and Jake,19, have been involved in rodeo for as long as they can remember.
Jake, a Professional Cowboy Rodeo Association (PRCA) member, has been competing in the Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo for about 15 years.
“I really love roping with my dad and sister, there is always something to laugh about,” he said. “I like going to our hometown rodeo because so many of our friends are roping, so it’s always a good time.”
Jake is currently at the Reno Rodeo in Nevada, competing with Hollister native DJ Parker in the team roping.
On the difference between PRCA rodeos and our local rodeo he said, “At the Saddle Horse Show I’m really just having fun roping with friends and family. Don’t get me wrong, I’m still doing all I can do to win, but it’s a lot different from the rest of the rodeos I’ve been going to.”
If Jake and Parker make it to the championship round in Reno, Bourdet will miss the San Benito County Rodeo this year. Nonetheless, Jake is also entered in the team roping with his father, and in the figure-8 roping—a traditional event in San Benito County. Figure-8 roping is a method for roping cattle that was used in the early California Vaqueros. The cowboy uses the Figure-8 roping method in order to give medicine or treat an injury in open pasture without assistance. This catch is very tricky as the rope needs to be placed on the steer over the head and cross in front of its chest where it makes a Figure-8 shape and then goes around its two front feet.
Jake Bourdet was taught how to throw this kind of loop by his dad when he was first able to enter the Saddle Horse Show, but he normally does not get the chance to practice it.
Lacey began rodeoing in her early teens but has been on the back of a horse since she was just a baby.
“My dad used to have this big bay horse named Brownie that my brother and I would ride around Bolado for as long as I can remember,” Lacey said. “Bolado has always been one of my favorite rodeos. I love getting to rodeo with my family and close friends. Getting wins with your family is always extra special, I can’t wait to watch my children one day wear the buckles I won with their grandpa or uncle. I can’t wait to watch them compete at Bolado like we have as a family for all of these years.”
Lacy stressed the importance of family in rodeoing.
“My family inspires me tremendously. My dad has inspired me with how hard he works day in and day out, and has truly taught me what life is about. My mom inspired me because she is one of the strongest women that I know and has taught me to create my own sunshine even in difficult situations. My brother inspires me because he has shown me that you get what you work for. I have watched him chase his dreams and go the extra mile in the practice pen for the last few years and watch his talent bloom tremendously. He makes me so proud! I am lucky to have many others in my life to look up to as well.”
Mitch Bourdet said, “The kids’ love for rodeo came naturally. The kids grew up around horses and jackpots. Playdates were roping the hot heels. As soon as Jake could walk he had a rope in his hand. Both kids won their first buckles at Bolado. We went from teaching the kids how to rope and now they can teach us a few things. I love getting to rope with Jake and Lacey. It’s flattering when I get asked to be their partner and I plan to rope as long as I can.”
For more information about this year’s Saddle Horse Show and Rodeo, visit https://sanbenitocountyrodeo.com/.
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